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In today’s post, we pick up on a theme that we last wrote about in our post titled To Compare and To Contrast. (see here) This post was dedicated to the manner in which a couple of US ordinaries have been approaching the problem of shrinking congregations and shrinking vocations. In one case, the ordinary based his decisions on OBJECTIVE REALITY, while the other ordinary continued to base his decisions on a VIRTUAL REALITY. And the difference between the performance of these two ordinaries was quite dramatic. To demonstrate just how dramatic of a difference the decisions based on the two realities actually produce, in the post titled A Final Rendezvous With Destiny and With Death empirical evidence was provided. (see here)
Fast forward to today, we observe that this same theme, i.e. OBJECTIVE REALITY vs. VIRTUAL REALITY has crept into another area of the Universal Catholic Church, but this time at a much higher level. In the post titled Theological Structuring? Francis Don’t Need No Stinking Theological Structuring! (see here), we observed this theme play itself our in the different passages provided by the various sources at our disposal.
Our jump of point today will be a most peculiar phenomenon, a good representation of which can be found in the following quote from Sandro Magister:
The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical has been delayed because the Holy Father feared the first draft would not be approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
If we notice, this passage above contains an obvious ERROR. A careful reading of this passage indicates, by default, AN ADMISSION that Cardinal Muller, the Prefect of the CDF has, in fact, the authority over, i.e. the “final word”, the “upcoming” papal global warming/cooling/changing encyclical.
Or to put it another way,
IF the TRUE relationship between the pope, the prefect and the upcoming encyclical was that the ” Congregation De doctrina fidei helps the Pope in the preparation and implementation phases but the “crux” consists in enouncing the faith of the Church and this is the Pope’s very own and personal ministry”,
THEN “the Vatican” would have pointed out that the PREMISE of the question, i.e. “Holy Father feared the first draft would not be approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)” was FALSE.
Please keep in mind that this is the “theological structuring” issue that has gone unanswered since this novelty was initially disclosed in the interview with Cardinal Muller that appeared in French Catholic newspaper La Croixon the 29th of March 2015 (see here – original article in French).
Not only did “the Vatican” not point out that the PREMISE to the question is FALSE, they did not correct and define the proper relationship as:
The Pope has everything it takes to enounce the faith of the Church.
By this most obvious and glaring omission, “the Vatican” spokesman has deliberately created the impression that Card. Muller DOES IN FACT HAVE at minimum a “veto” over what would appear in the upcoming encyclical, an encyclical that constitutes a pope’s “very own and personal ministry”.
Once again to stress the proper relationship, here is what Fr. Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole, OP had to say on this matter: (see here)
Individual Pope figures aside, can the Successor of Peter’s ministry be considered theologically “lacking” and in need of a certain “theological structuring” by individuals other than the Pope?
Certainly not! The Pope has everything it takes to enounce the faith of the Church. The Congregation De doctrina fidei helps the Pope in the preparation and implementation phases but the “crux” consists in enouncing the faith of the Church and this is the Pope’s very own and personal ministry. By “structuring”, Cardinal Müller may have meant this, above all preparatory, work.
The gravity of the above situation should be clear to all.
This is the OBJECTIVE REALITY of the matter.
So the question now become: what’s does the
pope bishop of Rome think about this situation?
Although we do not have a direct answer from “the Vatican” or “Santa Marta”, i.e. Francis, what we do have is an answer from his confidant and the ghost writer of the Apostolic Exhortation Evagelii Gaudium, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez. And just to remind you dear reader, Cardinal Burke still does not know what Evangelii Gaudium is. But I digress…
Here is what Arch. Fernandez said:
“For example, the pope is convinced that the things he’s already written or said cannot be condemned as an error. Therefore, in the future anyone can repeat those things without fear of being sanctioned,” he added.
Now the above quote would definitely fall into the category of VIRTUAL REALITY.
So the question becomes, why is the pope being so careful with this “purported global warming/cooling/changing encyclical now?
Please recall what Francis considers as his “teaching magisterium”. Here is the quote from the La Nacion interview from the 7th of December 2014:
“Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I´m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that´s teaching.”
Therefore, as of the 7th of December, 2014 the above quote would be consistent with the earlier mentioned quote from Archbishop Fernandez, i.e. “the pope is convinced that the things he’s already written or said cannot be condemned as an error.”
However, since the publication of the Magister text on the 11th of May 2015, “the Vatican” has de facto admitted that Francis scrapped the draft of the global warming/cooling/changing encyclical written by Archbishop Fernandez, obviously the “thinking” at “the Vatican” or “Santa Marta”, i.e. of Francis has changed.
The reasoning above leads to the obvious inference that Francis DOES NOT BELIEVE that the above statements, i.e. “the pope is convinced that the things he’s already written or said cannot be condemned as an error”, is in fact a TRUE STATEMENT.
So what would have caused Francis to change his mind, not to mention the advent of the OBJECTIVE REALITY setting in inside the Vatican’s Sacred Walls?
The most logical and straightforward answer, and one that William of Ockham would no doubt appreciate, to the above question is provided by Archbishop Fernandez, and it is this:
The theologian widely acknowledged as the principal ghostwriter of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, says the Jesuit pontiff has already begun changing the Church in ways that cannot be reversed.
Archbishop Fernandez goes on to make the following claim:
The pope must have his reasons, because he knows very well what he’s doing. He must have an objective that we don’t understand yet. You have to realize that he is aiming at a reform that is irreversible. If one day he should intuit that he’s running out of time and he doesn’t have enough time to do what the Spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.
So it is safe to assume that the GOAL of Francis is IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE. However, if Francis is striving for IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE, then he surely must realize that he has to exact that IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE in a manner that is ACCEPTED by the Universal Church, i.e. ex-cathedra.
The problem that Francis has can be observed in the below passage:
“I don’t live in Rome and I can only talk about what I see when I go there. You have to make distinctions. I saw that some people in Rome were shocked at first, but now they understand the meaning of what Francis is calling for and they’re happy to be part of this path (he’s set out) for the Church, and they are helping the pope. Others tend to say: we’ll do what we can, go along with him as long as he’s here, because in the end he’s the pope. This group seems to be in the majority, even though I can’t confirm that. Others — really just a few — are, instead, going their own way. And from what one can see, they tend to ignore Francis’ teachings.”
Yes, this is the problem, i.e. “others […] they tend to ignore Francis’ teachings.”
Which is a problem when you are striving to corrupt the Ordinary Magisterium with the Bergoglian/Kasperian “theology done on the knees”. Please keep in mind that Archbishop has defined Francis’ goal as: he is aiming at a reform that is irreversible.
Just a reminder, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is defined as: (see here)
The Magisterium of Catholic Church teaches the faithful in two ways;
1) Solemn Magisterium: is Church teaching which is used only rarely by formal and authentic definitions of councils or Popes. This includes dogmatic definitions by councils or Popes teaching “ex cathedra”
2) Ordinary Magisterium: this second form of Church teaching is continually exercised by the Church especially in her universal practices connected with faith and morals, in the unanimous consent of the Fathers and theologians, in the decisions of the Roman Congregations concerning faith and morals, in the common sense of the Faithful, and various historical documents, in which the faith is declared.
And here is how the problem looks from the operational side. Over at the Harvesting the Fruits blog, the following passage appears that succinctly depicts the problem of Francis and the radicals: (see here)
Getting back to the interview, here’s another exchange that stood out to me:
Arroyo asked, “In the total, do you agree that that document [Evangelii Gaudium] is a part of the continuum of the teaching we saw with Pope John II, Pope Benedict and now Francis, and that it’s only the expression and the tone that has shifted?”
In his response, Cardinal Burke very rightly zeroed in on the word “teaching;” i.e., he understands that he is being asked if one is safe in assuming that the entirety of EG is reconcilable with the papal magisterium that predates it, namely, that of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (never mind tradition as a whole).
“I don’t know,“ Cardinal Burke replied.
This “I don’t know” strikes me as nothing less than an emphatic “NO!”
“To me, it’s a distinct kind of document, and I haven’t quite figured out in my mind exactly how to describe it. But I would not think that it was intended to be part of papal magisterium. At least that’s my impression of it.”
So there you have it in a nut shell.
Summarizing, the problem that Francis has is that the Universal Catholic Church defines ex-cathedra teaching differently than does Francis.
After the Secret Synod of Bishops of 2014, a crisis ensued that was brought to a head by the release of the Lineamenta. This episode created a situation where, an overwhelming part of the Catholic Bishops, as represented by the delegations that will be present at the Synod of Bishops of 2015, will not accept the IRREVERSIBLE REFORMS that Francis wants to introduce into the UNIVERSAL MAGISTERIUM of the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, no matter how bad the above situation may be for the forces of IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE commonly refered to as Team Francis, i.e. Cards Kasper and Marx & co. (see here), the situation for Francis himself is much, much graver. The ignorance, incompetence and crass despotism of Francis has metastasized into a situation where an “overwhelming” majority of the UNIVERSAL CHURCH have stopped to take Francis seriously.
And this is the most likely explanation for why Francis has dumped his former advisers and confidants, and has subjected his rights and privileges as the absolute sovereign and Our Lord’s representative on this earth to the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
What he in fact has done is reached out to Card. Muller for help, in an attempt to avoid looking ridiculous.
Actually, it is exactly the same problem that the film producer Woltzy had with giving the lead role in his next movie to Johnny Fontaine in the movie The Godfather, i.e. Francis problem is that “a man in his position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous.”
Not if the “Jesuit pontiff has already begun changing the Church in ways that cannot be reversed,” and make them IRREVERSIBLE, that is.